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Needles Field Office

Chemehuevi Mountains Wilderness

 Photograph of the Chemehuevi Wilderness on a sundown.
Chemehuevi Mountains Wilderness

Location: San Bernardino County; 12 miles southeast of Needles, California. (Note: Boundary set backs from roads or trails are 30 to 300 feet) 

Chemehuevi Mountains locationArea Description: 85,864 acres. The wilderness area encompasses the rugged, granitic Chemehuevi Mountains. The mountain range is horseshoe-shaped, with the open end facing eastward toward the Colorado River. Contained within the arms of the horseshoe is a large central valley with low rolling hills covered by dense stand of cholla and other cacti, ocotillo, and an occasional agave. Viewed from the west, the striking light, almost white, granite peaks contrast sharply with the rich green creosote and cactus-covered bajada. A few miles from the Colorado River, the mountains change dramatically from light-colored granite to dark red and gray volcanic spires and mesas. Broad, sandy, tree-lined Red Rock and Trampas Washes cross the wilderness from west to east. A number of springs and seeps a found in the area. The flora and fauna in the area are rich in species diversity due to its position between the Sonoran and Mohave Desert ecosystems and due to the infusion of river species and species principally found in eastern Arizona. Wildlife includes bighorn sheep, wild burros, desert mule deer, mountain lions, coyote, black-tailed jackrabbits, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, roadrunners, quail, rattlesnakes, and several species of lizards. The extreme southwestern portion of the wilderness provides critical habitat for the threatened desert tortoise.

Getting There: Ten miles south of Needles, California, U.S. Highway 95 is intersected by a dirt pipeline road, which forms the northern boundary of the wilderness. It can also be reached from the east from the Colorado River through the Havasu Wilderness Area, which is within the Havasu Wildlife Refuge. Please note there is no overnight camping in the Refuge.

Nonfederal Lands: Private lands may lie within the wilderness area. Please respect the owner and do not use these lands without permission.

Additional Information: Signs indicating "Wilderness" and "Closed Road" or "Closed Route" are placed at various intervals. Vehicles can be parked outside the wilderness boundary; however, the boundary is set back 30 feet from unmaintained dirt roads and 300 feet on paved roads.

Mechanized or motorized vehicles are NOT PERMITTED in a wilderness

Hunting, fishing, and non-commercial trapping are allowed under state and local laws.

Pet are allowed, but please keep your pets under control at all times.

Horses are permitted, however you may be required to carry feed.

Removal, disturbance, or attempting to remove archaelogical materials is a felony. Selling, receiving, purchasing, transporting, exchanging or offering to do so is prohibited by law.

CAMPING : Camping is permitted, limited to 14 days. After 14 days, campers must relocate at least 25 miles from previous site.

Help BLM preserve California's fragile deserts. Please park your vehicle or set up camp in previously disturbed sites.

Gathering wood for campfires, when permitted, is limited to dead and down materials. Do not cut live vegetation.

The BLM encourages all desert recreationists and travelers exploring public lands, not only within southern California but through the west, to use propylene glycol based antifreeze/coolant in their touring and recreation vehicles. Proven safer, it will have minimal impacts on the wildlife and the environment should a leak occur.

Chemehuevi Mountains Wilderness


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Bureau of Land Management
Needles Field Office
1303 S Highway 95
Needles, CA 92363
Phone: (760) 326-7000
Fax: (760) 326-7099
Office Hours: 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., M-F
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